Post card from Unawatuna

Monday, 28 March 2016

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The penultimate weekend, can you believe it? Although, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't miss home a bit now. I miss my family, friends and all of those materialistic things like clean bedding and laundry, western food and a nice, hot shower. But, who am I to complain when I'm in one of the most beautiful countries I've ever experienced?

This weekend was a long weekend, and we spent 3 days in Unawatuna/Galle for one of the girls Birthdays. We spent the first day mooching around Galle - which is an old dutch town, with jewellery shops, cobbled pavements and a light house. We spent the whole day just wandering around, buying souvenirs, drinking coffee, and in the evening, we watched the sun set at the fort. It was such a lovely, chilled day, and it ended back at Unawatuna beach for a few drinks with the girls.

On Saturday, we spent the whole day at the beach. We got up really late so had breakfast/lunch on the beach, and then shopped around Unawatuna before heading to sun bathe. I'm now onto the third book in the 'Girl with the dragon tattoo' series, and desperately need to finish it! We had dinner at 6ish, and then the others went out. I was so tired that I fell asleep at 10pm and didn't wake until 9am the next morning - which just shows how worn out I am now getting. I wouldn't change it for the world though and I do love everything about being here.

Then finally, after a late lunch on Sunday, we returned back to the home stay. I never think I have much to say after a beach weekend because all you do is chill, but the photos are nice at least :)

One more weekend to go, and then I'll be back in England. Crazy.
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Post card from Adam's Peak

Monday, 21 March 2016

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When I found out I was coming to Sri Lanka, the first thing I googled was what to do when I get here. The number one tourist attraction here is Sri Pada, more commonly known to us as Adam’s Peak. Adam’s Peak is a famous pilgrimage sight for Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, as it’s believed to be the place where Adam first set foot in the world after being cast down from heaven, and also it is home to the sacred footprint of Buddha.

Adam’s Peak is over 5200 steps, and is usually climbed at night in order to see the sun rise at the summit, in the morning. Most people start at 2:30am to get there for 6:30am, but as it’s pilgrimage season, we left our hostel at midnight, to give ourselves more chance. At the beginning of the climb, we were greeted by monks who blessed us and gave us a white bracelet, and then we were off. For the first couple of hours, we were making good time and had only stopped once for a sugary coffee. Although it’s only steps, the steps are incredibly random, with some being steep and some further apart from others, so it’s impossible to get into a good rhythm. It’s also quite cold because of the position on the mountain, so I bought a woolly hat to keep my head warm!

And then we hit the queue.

We reached the queue at around 3am in the morning and slowly creeped up the mountain to be near the top for sun rise at 5:30am. The sun was absolutely breath taking, and it really did make the whole climb seem amazing up until that point. However, we still had a way to go and two girls decided enough was enough, and turned around.

Being the stubborn perfectionist that I am, me and two others waited for another 3 and a half hours and finally reached the summit. The views were incredible, and the pictures really don’t do it justice at all. The sense of achievement and pride also made the whole thing worth it.

The way back down was actually much harder. The pressure on your legs makes them shake so badly, especially because you’ve changed from going up to powering back down – and believe me, you really do have to power walk back down because otherwise you just won’t make it.

I have never been so tired in my whole life, and have slept so much since returning back down, but it really was one of the most amazing things I've ever done. And although I wouldn't put myself through it all again, it was 100% worth it.
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Post card from Polhena and Mirissa

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

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So this weekend has been another beautiful beach weekend. I split off from my 'usual' group and went with two lovely girls, Hannah and Jordan, who live at the home stay near to me as we just wanted to chill all weekend.

We wanted to go to Mirissa again, but we accidentally booked a hostel in Polhena instead of Mirissa! Although it was close, it did mean that we had to get tuk tuks to Mirissa on Saturday but it was so worth it. I don't really have much to report, as we really did just sit on the beautiful beach all weekend, and read our books. I'm not onto the second in the 'girl with the dragon tattoo' series, which is definitely worth a read if you're late to this party like I am! We did have banana roti's for lunch on Saturday which are becoming my new addiction, and at sunset, we climbed the big rock to watch the sun go down. I don't think I've ever seen a more stunning sunset than I have in Sri Lanka.

On Saturday evening, we had dinner on the beach which was simply perfection. I will definitely miss the Sri Lankan beaches when I leave here. Then on Sunday, we just relaxed at Polhena beach, which was the closest beach to our hostel, before returning home in the afternoon. We actually found out that we'd returned home to the worst power cut that Sri Lanka has had for years. The power has basically been off for almost 2 days straight (it seems to be OK now!), which has been awful. And not because we can't survive without our phones/internet, but more because the fans haven't worked and it's so hard to breathe in a hot, stuffy room. It's definitely been an experience, but one I'd rather not have to repeat!

I always say this but overall, I had an awesome, relaxed weekend. If there is anywhere I've fallen in love with whilst I've been here, then it's Mirissa. I had great company too, and as they both would say, this weekend has been as sweet as a nut, mate.
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Post card from Yala and Mirissa

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

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This weekend has probably been one of my favourites because I fell in love with Mirissa beach. However, just before I talk about that, on Friday night we spent the evening in a town called Tissamaharama which is near Yala National Park. The group of us had an early night, and on Saturday morning we woke up at 4am to begin a Safari at Yala National Park. As we were up so early, we were able to see the beautiful Sri Lankan sun rise, which is genuinely one of my favourite aspects of Sri Lanka. 

The safari consisted of a vehicle made for the 9 of us and we drove around the park for 5 hours, searching for animals. I'm not a huge animal lover, and to be fair, there weren't as many animals as I thought there were going to be, but we did see some amazing animals - elephants, birds, buffalos, crocodiles and wart hogs (to name a few). We even followed one elephant for around 45 minutes, and watched him try and sneak food from other vehicles was so, so funny.

We arrived from Yala at midday, and made out way to Mirissa beach for the rest of the weekend.We had both Sunday and Monday at the beach because it was another public holiday here! For the rest of Saturday, we chilled because we woke up so early, and then had dinner on the beach. And then Sunday and Monday, we spent our time sunbathing. I actually covered up and read 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', mostly because I was really ill with sunburn a few weeks prior. The book was also the most addictive thing I have read in years, so I will now be reading the rest...

The beach itself is absolutely stunning. The ocean is pearly blue, and the view from the rocks there are just incredible. I hope the pictures do it justice because I am genuinely in love with Mirissa (and I'll be returning next weekend for sure!).
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Post card from Ella

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

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So it's March already, and technically this means that I return home next month. It's insane how fast time is flying out here. I initially thought that 12 weeks would be an extremely long time but knowing that April is next month, is absolutely crazy. It definitely encourages me to fill my time here with as much as possible, and I think/hope I am doing so.
The weekend just gone, we all went on a trip to Ella. Ella is a small, cute town in the mountainous area of Sri Lanka so there isn't that much to do but it is beautiful. Words cannot describe how beautiful it really is.We arrived on Friday night after a 6 hour trip, and fell asleep pretty early after dinner. Then on Saturday, we visited Ravana falls, which is a gorgeous waterfall. We didn't swim in the fall, but we did climb some rocks and just admire the beauty of it all. Sometimes that's all you need to do - just simply sit and realise how amazing somewhere is.

Then in the afternoon, we decided to climb Ella rock. The rock is an 8km round trip, and is incredibly steep. Also, in this heat, it was without a doubt the hardest thing I have done here yet. The rocks are pretty unsteady and climbing isn't the easiest of walks but the views surrounding the rock are so beautiful. And then of course, the top of the climb made the pain 100% worth it all, because the view of Ella and the mountains we just phenomenal. The climb back down was much easier, however it did absolutely hammer it down with rain which made the walk quite slippy, but it was a much refreshing walk compared to climbing up in the first place.

On Sunday, we all got up at 5:30am to get the most famous train in Sri Lanka, back to Colombo. The train from Ella to Colombo takes 9 hours but is known for the amazing views of the mountains and tea plantations. I must admit, it was an experience that I could have happily done without, as the seats were rock hard and bolt up right, as well as being incredibly hot and sweaty for the entire journey. However, the views were again absolutely stunning, and I am glad that I can say that I have been on the train!

This weekend was definitely a long one, but also an incredibly beautiful one. Sri Lanka will never cease to amaze me with it's beauty.
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